Ugliness revealed

WikiLeaks is at it again. Another major leak of tens of thousands of incriminating documents are expected to hit cyber space soon, much to the chagrin of Washington. Following the military documents release divulging the nitty gritty going on in the US military in Afghanistan earlier this year, and the recent Iraq documents, comes another shocker.

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Published: Sun 28 Nov 2010, 9:35 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:47 PM

These are diplomatic files rumoured to contain highly confidential inside exchange between the United States and several other countries, including the UK, Turkey, Israel, Denmark and Norway. It has placed the State Department in a quandary, not to forget the embarrassment that it is likely to generate. So much so that the US has already issued warnings to all the states suspected to be on the WikiLeaks radar in this particular case. Diplomatic briefings have been given to prepare these allies for what is being feared may be highly sensitive and embarrassing revelations of communication understood to be highly confidential.

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, seems to have opened a Pandora’s box with these subsequent bombshells. Despite facing an Interpol warrant issued at the behest of the Swedish government on charges of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion, Assange seems undeterred. The question, however, is whether the release of confidential material will have an impact on policy. The Pentagon has strongly criticised the leaking of documents they feel will jeopardise the lives of serving US forces. US military Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has forewarned that the leak of diplomatic cables would be ‘extremely dangerous’. The mounting criticism by top officials and US envoys does not seem to have had the desired effect. The diplomatic leak is expected to create bigger waves not only for the US but the other states that are involved. It is also likely to create mistrust and further apprehensions about future communications. Though there is heightened expectation and natural curiosity about what is yet to be revealed, there is understandable concern at the state level. While diplomatic exchange and relaying of communication is not classified in the sense that it is understood to be reported ad verbatim to the envoys’ respective governments, yet it is not for public consumption. State-to-state communication may be conducted in a rather frank and unbridled manner, which is open to misinterpretation by an outsider. It may be interesting to get an inside view of the exchange between say the US and Israel on key policy matters but this is bound to influence other parties that are inextricably bound to issues under discussion. While criticism mounts on the necessity to reveal information that could be harmful to US interests abroad and at home, there is also the counter argument for the need to expose the truth. This is what the WikiLeaks founder claims to be doing.

Irrespective of the justifications in favour of or against such revelations, the fact remains that these glimpses into what goes on behind the scenes — or at least a major part of — is extremely negative. It is time to expose them and question the necessity to formulate and implement policies that are defined by dubious motivation and prejudice in the first place.

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